News Danny Dyer ‘proud’ he’s helped young gay men come out

The new star heaped praise upon the touching EastEnders storyline his character Mick Carter has been part of

Barton hopes his form has convinced doubters

Newcastle United and Joey Barton should have been a match made in heaven right from the off, but three-and-a-half years on they finally seem to have started to click. It's that time of year to reflect on Christmas past. Barton needs little reminding of his whereabouts in 2007, sat in a cell, shortly to be convicted of punching a teenager in the head 20 times, the culmination of a drunken night out that would see him serve 77 days of a six-month sentence for assault. Surely the doors on the last-chance saloon had been locked shut this time?

You Better Not Cry, By Augusten Burroughs

Written in the same self-deprecating, gently witty vein as David Sedaris' quirky vignettes, these thematic stories of Christmas confusions and misdemeanours are a delightful read.

The top 20 TV programmes for the festive season

In the not-too-distant past, tradition dictated that the whole family watched television together on Christmas Day, but what we view and how we view it has undergone a transformation. Gerard Gilbert reports and selects the 20 programmes not to miss during the festive season

The Jesus story with a hint of EastEnders

Tony Jordan's latest BBC drama proves you don't have to be a believer to make a good Nativity film, says Gerard Gilbert

JB Shorts 4, Joshua Brooks Bar, Manchester

The little festival of six playets known as JB Shorts is becoming something of a tradition in Manchester. This is the fourth year in which a group of writers and actors from TV soaps get together to do the kind of work that they wouldn't be allowed to do on the telly but which was what brought them into writing and acting in the first place. Denizens of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Coronation Street, Holby City, Casualty, Two Pints of Lager, Heartbeat produce two hours that are polished, poignant and provocative.

Tanztheater Wuppertal / Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells, London<br/>Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Barbican Theatre, London

These are unquestionably giants of modern dance, but what contrasts these performances reveal

First 'Kama Sutra' audio book made

Historic sex guide the Kama Sutra is to be published as an audio book for the first time.

Swearing: When a curse can be a blessing

There's nothing like a spot of precision swearing on TV. It may not be big, says Fiona Sturges, but it can be clever

Fire to mark last orders for Eastenders' Queen Vic

One of the UK's most famous pubs will go up in flames as EastEnders' Queen Vic is destroyed by fire later this year, TV bosses confirmed today

BBC 1 will go HD by end of year

Programmes such as EastEnders, The Apprentice and The One Show are to be broadcast in high definition by the end of the year as the whole of BBC 1 goes HD, it was announced yesterday.

9.9m watched TV election debate

An audience of 9.9 million viewers watched last night's historic election debate between the three party leaders, figures showed today.

Ruck and Maul: Greenwood is punished by his own pupils at 'School of Hard Knocks'

Ever fancied giving a rugby pundit a good pasting? Sky Sports' 'School of Hard Knocks' will do it for you, in episode four of the series to be aired next Tuesday night. Will Greenwood and Scott Quinnell are attempting to turn a bunch of East London ex-criminals and ne'er-do-wells into a rugby team, and the latest episode sees one player, known as Lucky, pile into Greenwood during a tackle session. A suitably gravelly voiceover comes from Steve "Phil Mitchell" McFadden of 'Eastenders' – surprising really, when Ross Kemp is the real-life rugby fan among the fictional brothers. Anyway, with two more episodes to come even the relentlessly positive Greenwood, whose dad Dick was one of England's greatest coaching innovators, is wondering if this motley crew are worth all the aggro.

Can telly still draw a crowd?

Despite the growing trend for 'event dramas', the nation rarely watches TV en masse, argues Fiona Sturges

Two Women, Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London

Women on the verge of cliché
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
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Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
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Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace